Billy T Jams 2015 Review

The annual Billy T Jams stand-up show introduced this year’s Billy T Award nominees to a full house in Q Theatre’s Rangatira.; Eli Matthewson, Nic Sampson, Tim Batt, Hamish Parkinson & Matt Stellingwerf.

Rose Matafeo, Billy T Award winner in 2013, hosted the night and 2014′s winner Guy Montgomery headlined the show.

We’ve been covering this event for a few years now, and can honestly say that this was the best year yet.

Matafeo was a great compère describing the show as an ‘Antipasto of the Billy T’s”. She kept the pace up and had some fun repartee with the audience. 

First up was Nic Sampson who delivered some hair colour related comedy, but didn’t do so gingerly (sorry). He was cool, calm and collected. His confident performance covered Ron Weasley, otter feminine hygiene and assumptions on ye olde entertainment. A well structured set that covered a surprisingly eclectic amount of topics.

Matt Stellingwerf walked on stage wearing a leather jacket and took his place on a stool for the duration of his set. Like an intellectual ‘Fonze’, he talked about life, love and loss spinning some anecdotal yarns on dating via Tinder , Death Row and even threw in some maths jokes. He’s extremely laid back and relaxed with the audience, seamlessly having banter and keeping his cool.

Next up comes the newly buff Eli Matthewson, bursting on stage with boundless energy and high kicks. The second time nominee  has comeback stronger and more polished that before. He’s found his comfort zone on stage and is very likeable as he tells some tales of Grinder, church going and an awkward phone mishap.

Hamish Parkinson, is a loveable dweeb. He’s an odd-ball of adorable proportions whose physicality is part of his act ,while he gives dating advice with surreal scenarios. Going from the sublime to the ridiculous he becomes mesmerised by an audience member who very well may be the love of his life. His finale is one that is full of surprises and a sheer joy to watch.

The final Billy T Nominee to perform is Tim Batt, also a second time finalist. He comes across as a seasoned professional, and owns the stage as a stand-up comedian. His material felt ad libbed around the night itself, mocking his return to the competition. The second half of his set was dedicated to his poetry which involved the audience, his dad, and our beloved neighbours over the ditch – Australians.

Finishing off the show was last years winner, and reining Billy T Champ Guy Montgomery. Milking it for all it’s worth, he plays up his winning status. The mockery continues when he turns the mirror on New Zealand’s All Blacks obsession. A great set with smug cow references.

As with most years it’s impossibly hard to pick out any clear front runner. We don’t envy the judges this year as they will have a tough choice to make.

The full programme for the New Zealand International Comedy Festival will be released at the end February.